• Patrick Cox

Dog Backpacks: Not Just for Hiking?

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

Aren’t dog backpacks for hiking and camping? Yes indeed; however, they are also great for your everyday walks, and can be a huge help with your dog training program.

Benefits of Using a Dog Backpack:

  • It helps to prevent your dog from pulling. It can actually slow him down and make it easier for you to work on your dog’s leash manners.

  • It gives your dog a job to do so he can start to focus better. Focus means better listening!

  • Your dog will get more exercise as they burn more energy, and that is always a great thing!

  • It can actually help your shy or nervous dog feel more confident.

  • Your dog can carry their own water, dog training treats, and dog poop bags.

Things to Consider

  • Be careful with young dogs whose bones are still growing. Just like all exercise, work your way up and adjust as needed. Start with an empty backpack.

  • At some point, you might need to retire your older dog’s backpack, especially if he has health issues including joint, respiratory, and heart problems.

  • Select the right backpack for your dog. You might do a smaller one for just walks, and one that carries more items for hiking and camping.

  • Be careful on hot days. If it’s super hot, do not use the backpack as you risk overheating your dog.

  • Make sure you have the right fit for your dog’s size. Local pet stores are happy to help you with proper fits (see below for list).

What Should you put in your Dog Backpack

  • Ziploc bags with rice or beans

  • Your dog’s stuff such as water, dog training treats, and dog poop bags

  • Your water bottle

  • Books if you plan to stop and enjoy a read

For long walks on a warm day, freeze the water so it keeps your dog cool and as it unfreezes, you and/or your dog have cool water.

Yes, backpacks come in small sizes too!

Steps for Helping your Dog be Super Happy with his New Accessory

Interestingly, I have found that most dogs do great with just putting the backpack on them as if it’s not a big deal. I have found most take right to it. Back to the feeling of having a job to do. However, if your dog is hesitant, here are steps for getting them used to it.

  1. Let your dog smell this new item.

  2. Put the backpack on his back as you give him treats. Backpacks = treats! Yay! Practice for a few minutes several times per day.

  3. As soon as your dog is relaxed or looking forward to the treats with the backpack on, attach it to him. Keep giving treats. Practice for a few minutes several times per day.

  4. As soon as your dog relaxed or looking forward to the treats with the backpack attached, walk around the house with it, then the driveway, then finally go for your walk. Give treats as needed and proceed to each step once your dog is obviously comfortable.

  5. Add some weight. Depending on your dog’s age, breed, and health, you can do 10-20% of their weight so 5-10% on each side.

  6. Add additional weight as your dog conditions.

  7. Voila! You are ready for your walks, hikes, and trips.

Where Can You Purchase a Good High-Quality Backpack?

Here is a great review article to help you determine the best one for your dog.

Shop local! If you shop local, you are sure to get the right structure, size, and fit for your

dog. These wonderful pet stores carry some of the top brands and can also order your

backpack if needed.

Unleashed, Raleigh and Cary

Pet Mania, Raleigh, Wake Forest, Cary, and Holly Springs

Just Dog People, Garner


Dog backpacks are a great addition to your dog’s equipment even for just everyday walks.

If you have photos of your dog enjoying their backpacks, please head to our Facebook Page and share!

Want to read more articles such as this one? Be sure to subscribe below so you will get notified of

each posts.

Sylvie Parbus

Certified dog trainer and dog behaviorist

Certifiably Dog Crazy Lady


Dog Training for Real Life!


Raleigh, NC, and Surrounding Areas



Looking for dog-friendly places around the Triangle?

Follow Topline K9 Solutions 

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Pinterest Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon

© 2019 All Rights Reserved Topline K9 Solutions